Every year there is a huge commotion within the Indian film industry, both national and regional, when the Oscar season arrives. Each year, contenders hope to make it big in the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category. Several names pop up, some with leading actors, others that have won accolades on home front and some experimental films.
However, more than once, it’s a surprise when the final official entry is announced. This year too, there has been intense competition and finally Malayalam film Jallikattu made it as the official Indian entry to Oscars 2021.
Based on a short story titled Maoist penned by Harish S, the 2019 film was directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery. Jallikattu had Antony Verghese playing the lead. The film revolves around a bull that escapes from a slaughter house and since the entire village relies on the slaughter house for their meat, all of them join together to track the animal. The story is set in a small, hilly, remote village. Yet, there are sub-plots that make the film interesting.
Jallikattu was screened at 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and was well-received both by audiences and critics. It was later showcased at 24th Busan International Film Festival. The film’s director Lijo Jose Pelliserry got the best director award at the 50th International Film Festival of India.
Incidentally, Jallikattu was chosen from among 27 other entries that include Amitabh Bachchan-Ayushmann Khurana’s Gulabo Sitabo, Deepika Padukone’s Chappak, Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala Devi, to name a few.
This is the third time that a Malayalee film made it to Oscar entry.